Rob Jones is a decorated Marine who lost both his legs above the knee to an improvised explosive device (IED) in Afghanistan in 2010.

After being honorably discharged in 2011 and receiving a Purple Heart award, Jones went through extensive rehabilitation and subsequently decided he wanted to truly live his life. He learned to row and earned a bronze medal competing in mixed doubles skull at the 2012 Paralympics in London. Using his prosthetic legs, he has also competed in half marathons and triathlons.

Jones, of Lovettesville, Va., is now in the midst of a bicycling trek of more than 5,400 miles across the United States, to raise awareness and money for veterans’ charities that helped him during his recovery period (including The Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes, Semper Fi, and Ride2Recovery).

“It’s simple really,” he said. “I am committed to giving back to the organizations that were there for me in my darkest hours.”

Hoping to raise a $1 million, Jones pedals an average of 30 miles a day on his self-funded journey that began in October in Bar Harbor, Maine, and is expected to end sometime between February and April in San Diego, Calif. On his way through Missouri on the Highway 17 portion of the cross-country Transamerica Trail, Jones stopped in Houston late last week and was honored in a ceremony Saturday morning at the city’s storm shelter. Representatives of several agencies and organizations were on hand to meet him, including Mayor Don Tottingham, Police Chief Jim McNiell, School Superintendent Scott Dill, Texas County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Melissa Emerick and several members of the City of Houston Fire Department.

To follow Rob Jones’ progress, make a donation, or learn more about him and his cause, log onto www.robjonesjourney.com. The website includes information on how to download an app to a phone and track Jones as he rides west. He can also be found on Facebook.   

Web address:

http://www.robjonesjourney.com/

Video clips:

http://www.wlbz2.com/news/article/259999/315/Paralympian-begins-cross-country-trip-to-support-wounded-vets

http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2013/11/08/477698/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYUQ78wFowU

More information about the three charities targeted for the money Rob Jones raises on his lengthy bike ride:

Semper Fi  Fund.  The Semper Fi Fund is a non profit organization that provides financial relief to injured or severely ill post 9/11 Marine Corps and Navy service members and their families during hospitalization, recovery, and afterward.  They provide family support, specialized adaptive equipment, adaptive housing & transportation, education and career transition assistance, PTSD and TBI support, and also physical rehabilitation through sport via Team Semper Fi.  They have also recently started a program to provide relief to members of other military branches as well through their America’s Fund program.

Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes.  The Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes(CSAH) is a non profit organization that provides financial assistance to all injured service members and their families from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.  They specialize in the direct giving of money to veterans, providing part time work for veterans and their caregivers, and providing online education and training.  They host a yearly conference called the Road to Recovery; a four day event taking place in Orlando, Florida designed to motivate and educate injured service members and their families in order to prepare them for the challenges they will be facing in the future as a result of their injury.  The conference provides information regarding career counseling, housing, VA benefits, healthcare, and personal development.

Ride2Recovery.  Ride 2 Recovery is produced by the Fitness Challenge Foundation, a non profit organization designed to benefit mental and physical rehabilitation programs for wounded service members via the sport of cycling, whether it be on an upright cycle, a recumbent, or a hand cycle.  The Ride 2 Recovery program raises money to support spinning recovery labs, and outdoor cycling programs located at military and VA hospitals designed to keep wounded veterans active.  Ray Clark, the representative for R2R at Walter Reed, was integral in Rob’s relearning how to ride an upright cycle. 

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